The West

Lady Gaga

Burswood Dome

Saturday, July 7

Lady Gaga's Perth performance began the moment she Tweeted a picture of herself aboard a private jet en route here on Thursday. This was followed by an orchestrated meet and greet as she arrived at her hotel at Burswood.

In the four short years since she unveiled debut album The Fame, the artist formerly known as Stefani Germanotta has shot to the top. While others think in terms of album or tour cycles, the masterful media manipulator is the first round-the-clock superstar.

Thus there was a palpable sense of excitement as the sold-out audience of 17,000 "little monsters", many dressed in their favourite Gaga costumes, flocked to the first of two Born This Way Balls at the dreaded Dome.

I say dreaded because the sound was typically woeful on the first two songs - the rumbling bass was ear-bleedingly loud on opener Highway Unicorn (Road to Love), which saw the superstar arrive on a "horse".

Dressed as something out of Aliens, Mother Monster was paraded around the circular catwalk that led out from the five-storey medieval castle. Then a giant floating robotic Gaga head - called Mother G.O.A.T. - kick-started the superfluous narrative stringing the five acts of the Ball together.

Gaga was an alien or something, who had infiltrated the Government Owned Alien Territory or something, and the dancers in black were trying … oh, I give up. It all seemed to make sense to the little monsters, who lapped up every moment of the show.

Some of the monsters at the Dome were really little; kids there with mum, who probably had some explaining to do after a dancer simulated oral sex on Gaga during Government Hooker.

Mum was also the word, when Gaga gave birth to herself to herald the Madonna clone Born This Way, the first bona fide dance pop anthem of the night.

When the Gaga versus G.O.A.T. gibberish was put aside for hits such as Bad Romance, Poker Face, Telephone and chart-topping debut single Just Dance, the Ball came alive. Thousands of fans punched the air and jumped along with Gaga and her dozen athletic dancers.

All the costume changes, manic dance moves and other madness happened in front of, around and within a five-storey medieval castle, which occasionally opened up to reveal a surprisingly traditional rock band.

Some of the best moments came when Gaga stripped it all back to just her voice and a piano, as she did for Princess Die, a brand new song written on tour and added to the set in Melbourne last week. "Everybody's calling this a suicide song," she said.

The rare moment of introspection allowed Gaga to interact with the super-fans in the Monster Pit, who tossed her gifts. "Somebody threw marijuana on stage," Gaga laughed. "It's basil, what a rip-off."

The solo portion segued into the excellent rock ballad You and I, the band joining Gaga out front before the "meat" section of the show - the star arrived on a trolley of carcasses for Americano, was fed into a meat grinder at the end of Poker Face and re-emerged reclining on a beef couch for Alejandro.

If that wasn't crazy enough, Gaga sang Paparazzi as a duet with Mother G.O.A.T., which ended with the robot head bleeding from the eyeballs. The acronyms WTF and LOL were invented for this moment.

Thankfully, the 80s stadium rock encore of The Edge of Glory and Marry the Night, which saw two little monsters join Gaga on stage, was a relatively normal finale to the two-hour spectacular.

You could write 10,000 words on the Born This Way Ball and not fully capture the experience. So let's just sum it up in one word - Gagargantuan.

The West Australian

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